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Windows Thread, SIMS / PARS Server in Technical; Hi, We are having problems with Sims and Pars at the moment. Basically Pars freezes during busy periods of the ...
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    Sunderwood's Avatar
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    SIMS / PARS Server

    Hi,

    We are having problems with Sims and Pars at the moment. Basically Pars freezes during busy periods of the day and people are getting frustrated with it.


    So i did some digging and i have been monitoring the Server for a week and noticing the server is maxing out at 100% processor usage all day. (see attached)

    Would i be right in thinking that we need to buy a new server with more horses?

    What would you recommend?


    sims_server.jpg

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    Without more info, can't really say:

    How many users?
    Server spec?
    Does it ramp up at morning registration and stay high until people leave?
    Show us a process list - what's consuming the cpu?

    As a comparison point:

    We have 93 SIMS users, of whom 80 use it everyday and ~60 or so use it every lesson.
    Our sims and pars box has two 2.8 ghz xeons and 4GB of Ram on 10K SCSI disks.
    Our database is at 1.2GB currently.
    Processor load hasn't been above 80% in the last 6 months and usually idles (during the day) from 2-50% depending on what's going on.
    We're on September 08 and Pars 2.269.

    Edit: And the server's 4 years old.
    Last edited by pete; 25th September 2008 at 04:02 PM.

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    Sunderwood's Avatar
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    Hi Pete thanks for your reply.


    here is the server specs...

    OS Name Microsoft(R) Windows(R) Server 2003, Standard Edition
    Version 5.2.3790 Service Pack 1 Build 3790
    Other OS Description Not Available
    OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
    System Name 4185SQL
    System Manufacturer Dell Computer Corporation
    System Model PowerEdge 2800
    System Type X86-based PC
    Processor x86 Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 1 GenuineIntel ~2992 Mhz
    Processor x86 Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 1 GenuineIntel ~2992 Mhz
    Processor x86 Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 1 GenuineIntel ~2992 Mhz
    Processor x86 Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 1 GenuineIntel ~2992 Mhz
    BIOS Version/Date Dell Computer Corporation A02, 19/01/2005
    SMBIOS Version 2.3
    Windows Directory C:\WINDOWS
    System Directory C:\WINDOWS\system32
    Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume2
    Locale United Kingdom
    Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "5.2.3790.1830 (srv03_sp1_rtm.050324-1447)"
    User Name Not Available
    Time Zone GMT Daylight Time
    Total Physical Memory 2,047.27 MB
    Available Physical Memory 121.21 MB
    Total Virtual Memory 3.85 GB
    Available Virtual Memory 1.97 GB
    Page File Space 2.00 GB
    Page File C:\pagefile.sys

    We have around 70 members of staff that use sims and pars all day and we have developed sharepoint webparts that read information from the sims database for our Administration side of things. So this server is a very busy bee.

    Yes it does ramp up.. im looking at it now and everyone has gone home and the CPU usage is 1%.

    Here is the top critters on the process list we have about 81 processes running.

    Sims_server1.gif


    thanks for the reply again

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    With the exception of RAM (which looks a bit tight), your server is better specced than ours. The process list you linked is ordered by memory use, can you post one tomorrow when it's being hammered ordered by CPU use?

    If you've converted to FMS SQL, you should be able to reduce the memory allocated to SQLAnywhere, since they shouldn't be changing it anymore if they've migrated the database to MSSQL.

    You also appear to have 3 installs of sql running, any reason?

    What was performance like before you added the sharepoint integration?

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    Sunderwood's Avatar
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    Hi Pete,

    Thanks for getting back to me again.

    I rebooted the server late last night and thought i would check on it again in the morning.

    I have taken these screenshots when everyone is taking their registers and the CPU is fluctuating from around 3% to 80%.

    Sims_server2.gif
    Sims_server3.gif

    Do you think if we upgraded the memory on the server this would make any difference?

    I am not sure why there is 3 instances of sql. they dont seem to be taking another cpu usage up but certainlty memory.

    Cheers Steve

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    What, where and how often is Sophos scanning? 11% cpu use looks too high - it should be scanning only writes to the SIMS s:\ share for old-school Nova-T type stuff. You can do nightly scans for peace of mind.

    Have you got exclusion rules set up in Sophos for the databases / things you don't want it to touch? Performance will go to pants if your AV is being stupid.

    The 2 extra sql installs may be legacy apps from leftover from past upgrades, (i.e MSDE/Express, SQL 2000) or one may be an install for FMSSQL, but I don't know your server. Grab a copy of sql server managment studio (express version is free, full version comes with paid 2005 licence) and see what they are.

    What do the scripts do? (I see Kixtart and scriptlogic tools running).

    Upgrading the ram would probably improve performance in general, but won't solve your current problem as to why the CPU use is so high. Nail that down before buying ram.

    Is this SIMS server something you've inherited?

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    I had a school with this issue yesterday and we found that the version of SQl is also important. They were running SQL express and even though the database size was well below the 4gb limit, express appears to take and hold all the memory that is available to it(1gb limit).
    We upgraded to Sql 2005 standard and found a clear speed increase. We also found that the RM server that was being used was using slow hard drives and slow Ram. It may be worth checking what type of Ram you are using

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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    What, where and how often is Sophos scanning? 11% cpu use looks too high - it should be scanning only writes to the SIMS s:\ share for old-school Nova-T type stuff. You can do nightly scans for peace of mind.

    Have you got exclusion rules set up in Sophos for the databases / things you don't want it to touch? Performance will go to pants if your AV is being stupid.

    The 2 extra sql installs may be legacy apps from leftover from past upgrades, (i.e MSDE/Express, SQL 2000) or one may be an install for FMSSQL, but I don't know your server. Grab a copy of sql server managment studio (express version is free, full version comes with paid 2005 licence) and see what they are.

    What do the scripts do? (I see Kixtart and scriptlogic tools running).

    Upgrading the ram would probably improve performance in general, but won't solve your current problem as to why the CPU use is so high. Nail that down before buying ram.

    Is this SIMS server something you've inherited?
    As a general rule, we disable on-access scanning on SIMS servers as it uses too much juice. Thorough scans each night.

    We also put an exception on workstation scans to ignore the sims\setups folder.

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